SAN JOSE, California
- With the thunderous chants of "Let's go Sharks!" filling the air, you might have thought you were inside HP Pavilion during a Sharks game. But it was the enthused students from Mildred Goss Elementary School in San Jose that were making all the noise to celebrate the "Joe Thornton
Street Hockey Court" being unveiled at their school.
Click here to view photos from the event.
This past season, Sharks captain Joe Thornton teamed up with the Sharks Foundation and the Good Tidings Foundation (their eighth street hockey court collaboration) to resurface part of the school's blacktop and transform it into a street hockey court.
Over 300 students, teachers and guests were in attendance for the dedication ceremony, with Sharks broadcasters Dan Rusanowsky and Randy Hahn serving as the emcees for the event. The students of Goss showed their thanks and love to the Sharks as they held up their hand-made posters and waited for the ceremony to begin.
First to speak was Goss principal Brian Schmaedick, who exemplified how—like the Sharks—the students and faculty strive to put "effort" into everything they do. If you "work hard" he said, you "get smart!" the students shouted back.
After brief remarks from representatives of both the Good Tidings Foundation and the Sharks Foundation, Thornton came to the microphone and was greeted by a loud applause.
"I grew up playing street hockey and I wanted you all to have opportunity to play as well," Thornton said. "It's important to get out there and be active, and hopefully you fall in love with hockey, just like I did as a kid."
Mascot S.J. Sharkie may have received the loudest ovation of the day as he joined Thornton in the ceremonial faceoff and inaugural game with students. After trading goals, including a blistering shot from Thornton that snuck past the young goalie, the game ended in a 1-1 tie.
"I can't believe that Joe Thornton and S.J. Sharkie came to our school," said one excited 3rd grade student. "It was really fun watching them play hockey with my classmates on our new court. This was the best assembly ever."
Asked why he did this, Thornton said, "San Jose's been my home for the past seven years, so it's great to give back to the community."